Nothing suits supersoldiers better than a suit. Crytek’s beautiful sandbox shooter is back to drop jaws and countless enemies. Running on the CryEngine 3, Crysis 3 is possibly Crytek last hurrah in the series since announcing their decision to go completely free to play. Does Crysis mix what was great about the original Crysis and surpass it, while not falling for the shortcomings of the second instalment?
When Crysis 2 launched on consoles, PC players were bitterly disappointed by the reduction is visual quality and scope. Everything that disappointed fans are far removed and what’s left is a beautiful mix of the urban jungle with real wildlife players loved in the original.
In Crysis 3 you play the role of Prophet, who has just been rescued from the C.E.L.L. by a resistance force. At the forefront of this force is Psycho, a series favourite , now without his nanosuit. The C.E.L.L. has stripped him of his suit so both Prophet and Psycho have a common goal of revenge against the C.E.L.L.
The story has obviously taken more of a priority over previous iterations. The in-game cut-scenes keep you immersed and the engine looks so good that pre-rendered cut-scenes are never needed or even thought about really. The story may seem very simple and boring on the surface, and there is definitely a degree of truth to its simple nature but there is some interesting character themes should you look deeper.
Both Phophet and Psycho are out for revenge but while Prophet still has his nanosuit, Psycho must now, for the first time in a long time, face his mortality. This leads to some reckless abandon and unique scenarios of controlling emotions and aggression.
The C.E.L.L. have also taken over New York and built nanodomes using the alien ceph technology. This has cause a massive transformation in the landscape and environment. Gone is the complete verticality of the buildings from Crysis 2 and in its place is a mix of the first two Crysis games.
The levels that you explore are more open than Crysis 2 but not close to the incredible open levels of the original game. The result is levels that are varied and open enough to warrant surveying your surroundings and some of the best level design in the series that really make you think about what path is the best depending on whether you want to be stealthy or all guns blazing.
Gameplay is mostly untouched from the previous title. The shoulder buttons still activate your cloak and armour but there is one change and that is that sprinting no long drains now your energy meaning you can now get around a lot quicker without worrying about your energy meter.
The major addition to the gameplay though is actually a weapon. You can now equip yourself with an incredibly powerful bow and kill enemies with just one arrow. If you truly want to feel like a predator, then you will need to utilise this weapon to your heart’s content. What’s most appealing is the fact that this is the only weapon you can use while cloaked and it will not give away your position. Easily one of the best bows featured in a game in quite some time.
Visually the game is spectacular, proving that Crytek are still the developers to beat for the best shooter engine. The vistas are beautiful and environment filled with detail. The game though can sometimes feel as though the levels are designed just to show off the engine for developers and publishers to be interested in using it themselves. Sure you could say that Epic Games do the exact same thing with Gears of War but that showcasing of the technology is much better hidden than Crytek’s effort. You can spend surprisingly long snippets of a level just traveling from point to point without encountering a single enemy.
The single player is much shorter than previous titles. The game is spread across just seven chapters while Crysis 2 was more than double that. The levels offer great variety to level design and environments but the game loses steam towards the end. It doesn’t drag on like Crysis 2 but it also ends way too abruptly.
The multiplayer component is a great mixture of the familiar and the simply sublime. Players can expect the typical deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capturing points but the game also features the show-stealing hunter mode. In this mode two hunters are permanently cloaked armed with a bow while the others are all C.E.L.L. operatives. The hunters have two minutes to take out the other team and it’s a truly thrilling multiplayer mode.
Crysis 3 keeps up to the high standards and easily surpasses Crysis 2 overall. Crytek however may never match the feat created by them in 2007 but Crysis 3 is certainly going to be one of the best shooters of the year and well worth your time, money, and attention.